100% of proceeds will be donated to Icing Smiles!!!
The calendar not only features 12 beautiful and amazing cakes but it contains tips and tricks that are helpful to any cake decorator!
Want to make this gorgeous teddy bear cake that is featured on the cover of our calendar?
It was made by the FABULOUS Paul Bradford of the Paul Bradford SugarCraft School. (Paul's Facebook page)
Paul has created an amazing video tutorial for how to make it!
The best part is....the video is FREE when you buy a calendar!!
We would also like to thank two of our incredibly generous sponsors: Satin Ice and Marvelous Molds!
All of our cakes were made using Satin Ice fondant and gumpaste and many of the cakes have some special designs or features made with Marvelous Molds onlays and molds!
Thank you Satin Ice and Marvelous Molds!!!!!
So c'mon... everyone can use a new calendar right? They make great stocking stuffers too!!!
By purchasing this calendar you will be helping some very special kids!
We're back! The 2nd annual "Sugar Skull Bakers" are here! Dia de Muertos or the “Day of the Dead” is a Mexican religious holiday to celebrate the memory of our dearly departed, it has grown in popularity over the years. One of it's icons is the sugar skull, the "claverita", made with sugar and decorated with flowers... it's where we get our name! This is how we became sugar skull bakers, a combination of the passion of 120+ bakers and cake designers from around the world.
The love of skulls and our tradition has grown so much since last year's SSB2013, that we decided to celebrate again this year, a lot of our SSB2013 came back to play with us, and we have new sugar skulls hope you all enjoy Death has never looked this SWEET!! Check out all of the glorious skull cake art atSUGAR SKULL Bakers!
My cake was inspired by the artwork of the talented Ali Gulec www.facebook.com/ali.gulec.art or www.iiiki.com. The cake sits on a 14”x19” cake board. The cake itself was carved from a 12” round Red Velvet cake. It is coated in dark chocolate ganache and then covered in black fondant. The white shapes were hand cut and molded from fondant. Everything is 100% edible and it served approximately 18 people.
When I think of Bliss Pastry I think of beautiful, ethereal, finely crafted cakes in jewel tones with lots of texture! Some of my all-time favorite cakes have been created in Kristen’s kitchen, so I’ve been dying to interview her and learn more about the creative artist behind the masterpieces! And she didn’t disappoint!! Kristen is as lovely as she is talented!
***Tell us a bit about yourself *** I am the mother of 4 boys- heaven help me- living in Deland, Florida but am originally from the mountains of North Carolina. Growing up I was heavily involved in community theatre and art with some dance and writing thrown in. After moving to Florida I majored in theatre but eventually settled in to have children. I consider myself extremely blessed to have been given a second chance to follow my dreams after spending a huge chunk of my life working in corporate America and raising my children and pretty well losing my creative side. It is kind of a miracle to realize that yes you can have it all- a family and a dream.
***Tell us about your cake business*** Bliss Pastry has been a business for the last 3 years although I have been baking for over a decade. My recipes have primarily been developed at home over the years or are old family recipes handed down to me by my Mom and Grandmother. Keeping their memory and traditions alive has been the foundation of everything that comes out of my kitchen.
***Where do you create?*** Everything is created in my entirely too small kitchen. As much as I would love to have more space I have learned to make it work. When you want it badly enough you find a way.
***Is there a story behind the name of your business?*** When I decided I wanted to bake for people as a business I was at a really difficult time in my life. It was the year anniversary of my mother’s passing and I had just been let go from my corporate job. I was grieving. I was lost. I wanted purpose and to find my joy again. I have always been a Joseph Campbell fan. One of his teachings is that in order to reach our fullest potential for happiness, peace and satisfaction in this life that we should each “follow our bliss”… or chase that which brings us joy. For over half my life I had followed a paycheck to pay the bills and care for my children and had long before set my bliss to the side so that it became, I thought, lost forever. But it found me again. There could be no other name for my business.
***When did you start decorating?*** I started decorating about 3 years ago kind of as a fluke. My mother in law gave me a coupon for the Michael's cake decorating class and thought I might enjoy it since I loved to bake. It took me one class to realize there was an entire world of things I could do with desserts. Things I had never thought of or realized. At that point I was still icing my cakes with a butter knife and it had never even crossed my mind that I could actually buy a piping bag.
***Where did you learn the art of cake decorating? *** After the Wilton classes I spent hours online looking at cakes. I would see things that I found beautiful and just figure out how to do it. Sugar flowers really blew my mind and I knew I had to try it. String work mesmerized me and I had to do that too. I have taken 3 classes after the Wilton courses. One for cold porcelain flowers and stringwork, one for basic flowers which I had already been making on my own, and one for a very cool funky cake design. Usually I just wing it and figure it out as I go. That is more exciting.
***Do you have a signature style?*** Some people say I have a signature style but I really do not know what that would be. I use a lot of colors and textures and flowers and I think maybe I am better at “chaotic” or “organic” styled cakes.
***What inspires you?*** Definitely nature inspires me above all else. Living in Florida I am surrounded by color even in the winter. Hot pink, shades of emerald, vivid blue skies, rippling water… I can sit and stare for hours at the light and shadows playing on the trees and water. That is constantly fascinating.
***What is your favorite medium or technique to work with?*** I do not really have a favorite medium because I get bored easily so like to be asked to do different things. Definitely I love painting on cakes and anything where I can get my hands in there making different textures or effects. I guess I favor the technique of randomness haha!
***What is your favorite decorating tool?*** My tools are fairly simple because I try not to be a consumer and to use what is on hand or use every day items whenever possible. Or else I would need two houses. The things I could not live without would be my bazillion paintbrushes, box of toothpicks, dry sponges, Creative Cutters metal ball tools and my Ateco teardrop cutters. I can conquer the world with just those tools.
***What decorating tool is on your wishlist?*** The only tool that I want right now would be a new airbrush. Simply because mine keeps breaking. I have used the heck out of my $50 airbrush so it may be time to replace it.
***What is the best class or tutorial that you have taken?*** This is a small pool to choose from but I have to choose two of my 3 instructors. The first being Geraldine Randlesome who taught me to love piping but mostly for giving me the advice that I should choose an area of decorating and specialize in that and to not think I could do everything successfully. I was right out of Wilton classes and knew nothing but I did know that I was determined to prove her wrong. The fastest way to get me to do something is to tell me I can’t so I am forever thankful. The second would be my class with Swank Cakes…. Love everything about Wayne and Chuck and I picked up some nifty little tips that really improved my process when I took their steampunk corset class.
***What is your best tip or trick?*** For those who live in humid climates like I do and feel like you are constantly having to battle moisture on cakes when working with fondant you don’t have to fight it. Find a use for it. When you smooth your fondant don’t worry if the cake sweats. In fact I encourage it to sweat. Once it’s good and covered in condensation I use my smoothing tool to go around and around (never pull the tool off the fondant at a perpendicular direction) and use the moisture to polish the fondant. It fills in all the cracks and rough spots as you smooth. Condensation is your friend.
***Who is your “Cake Crush”?*** There are tons of people who’s work I love to see and look forward to but if I had a chance to sit with anyone for a day or learn from them I would love to learn from Lori Hutchinson or Lindsey Sinatra. I would also accept just magically becoming as gifted as they are.
***What is your best advice for a beginner?*** My best tip has nothing to do with tools or procedure because none of those things will matter if you are afraid. I am afraid all the time of so many things but I say so what and just leap. Any emotion can be used to make great art. Fear, sadness, anger. Anything. It is all fuel.
***What is your favorite cake/filling flavors?*** It depends on the day. Usually I prefer a fruity type of cake with lots of filling but there are times a woman just needs some hardcore chocolate. I like them all but never vanilla with vanilla icing.
***Tell me some other interesting, fun info about yourself.*** I am not really all that interesting or fun. Ok fine. One of my past jobs was as a manager and photographer of an antique photo studio. I used to dress up like a cowgirl or a saloon girl or in Victorian dresses. During the years I had this job I learned to twirl a pistol, the words to way too many country songs, and once in awhile they would break out the calf roping mechanical bull and I would get up on it in my Victorian clothes and fishnets and start roping men instead of the calf. Best job ever!
***5 quirky or crazy facts about you:*** I am actually a mermaid. No, really I am. I pick stuff up off the floor with my feet instead of bending down and using my hands. I am completely phobic and the list of things I am uncontrollably afraid of is way too long to share with you (spiders, enclosed spaces, germs, water or bugs getting in my ears etc etc). I am 42 years old but I freaking love dubstep music. Very, very loud dubstep music. Most of my cakes are made while listening to Excision or Terravita. I am obsessed with taming the lizards that are out by the pool and have spent hours finding bugs and splashing them up to feed them so they become accustomed to my presence. My husband thought I was crazy but now he does it too.
Thank you Kristen! It was a pleasure getting to know you better! BTW…I’m 44 and I had to Google “dubstep music”…..I think I’m now hooked too!
You may have recently spotted Julie's unbelievably gorgeous Lakshmi cake as part of the Festival of Lights Cake Collaboration, but she has been creating beautiful masterpieces for years. Her passion for cake decorating is obvious to anyone who knows her...and she's not just a cake artist...she's a talented cookier too! :)
Introducing Julie....... ***Tell us about yourself!*** I was born and raised and still live in mid-Michigan. I certainly consider myself one of the luckiest gals I know, married to my best friend for the last 33 years. Yes! I got married when I was 12! Geez, that still wouldn’t make me very young. We have 2 beautiful and successful, grown daughters and 4 of the most wonderful grandkids ever. Oh, and 1 more on the way! I’ve always been considered quite crafty and not intimidated to take on most any project. For many years, I was a professional seamstress and specialized in custom horse show clothing. As for other professions, I was a Playboy Bunny, a property manager and owed and ran a motel for 20 years while our girls were going up. A very large part of our lives until the girls went off to college, was owning and showing Quarter Horses. My hubby and I have always had a niche’ for home remodeling and are almost always in the middle of knocking down one wall or another. A as benefit of this constant home rehab, I am very fortunate and have a large cake studio in our home.
***Tell us about your cake business!*** I began caking about 3 years ago, simply wanting to make cool cakes for our grandkids. Starting off slowly for the first year and a half or so, then got completely bitten by the cake decorating bug and jumped in full time from there on out.
***Where did you learn the art of cake decorating? *** The vast majority of my cake decorating knowledge was obtained through online tutorials, classes and good ole’ research and trial and error. I can’t say I have had any true formal training, other than a couple classes attended. One with the Sachiko Windbiel of Mimicafe Union @ New York and another with Dawn Parrott. But certainly hope to attended more in the future.
***Do you have a signature style?*** As for a specific style, I really can’t say I have one. I love doing all types of cakes. From enjoying creating food replica cakes, just as much as elaborate fancy tiered cakes and feel I have to keep honing my figure modeling as well. So, I’m really kind of all over the spectrum.
***What inspires you?*** My inspiration comes from everywhere. Other artists, the seasons changing, the client’s needs. Truly inspiration is found in nearly everything.
***What is your favorite medium or technique to work with?*** My favorite medium currently would be modeling chocolate. Although, I have much to learn about this medium, as I am rather new to it. But without a doubt, I use more fondant than any other product at this time.
***What is your favorite decorating tool?*** I’m going to tell you a couple items that I consider “My can’t do without tool”. First, a razor blade. I have several on my work surface at all times. Secondly, an extruder. I have the Makin Clay Extruder and my brother has retro fitted it to work with a power drill and that is truly a lifesaver for me. Another piece, (now that I have one) is my electric pasta machine. Whether it’s rolling out fondant and gumpaste for flowers or ribbons, or cutting thin, exact strips for many uses. It saves your hands and wrists so much stress. I use the Roma by Weston Electric Pasta machine.
***What decorating tool is on your wishlist?*** Anyone that knows me, knows this answer. The tool on my want list, a sheeter, a sheeter, a sheeter! Was that clear enough? ;)
***What is the best class or tutorial that you have taken?***
I can’t say specifically which class I would consider the best, as I have learned so much from every tutorial or class I’ve taken. I would say that is the benefit of being new to this industry, simply so much to learn. But, I can say I absolutely love the Craftsy classes and own many of them. That style of class works very well for me.
***What is your best tip or trick?*** Hmmm, tip or trick to share? So many things come to mind, but something that I discovered recently only out of pure necessity. When needing to attach thin strips of fondant or gumpaste, cut out and place on an inverted cookie sheet, make perfectly straight with a ruler edge and pop in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. When removed from freezer, the stripes will stay perfectly straight and the upside of fondant or gumpaste will become slightly moist from condensation and work as an adhesive to adhere to your project.
***What is your best advice for a beginner?*** My best advice for a beginner. Well, how about 2 things. Always cover your boards. I have seen so many pretty cakes that are on naked boards and it just takes so much away from the finished results. Secondly, online research is your very best learning tool.
***What is your favorite cake/filling flavor?*** My favorite flavors change with the seasons. Red Velvet with cream cheese icing and pecans in the winter. Carrot cake and cream cheese in the fall and in the summer, I make a pineapple and coconut cake with whipped topping that is to die for! But, far too weak to use for a tiered, stacked cake. It literally barely holds together, but it’s sooo good.
***Are you currently working on any fun projects that you can tell us about?*** So many exciting new opportunities are coming in the near future. Very soon I will begin filming my first video tutorial and so thrilled to announce I will be working in conjunction with Satin Ice on this project. It will be for my Cowboy Hat and Buckle cake. It has been a highly requested tutorial and I finally will have time in my schedule to make this happen. So keep your eyes peeled folks! Another wonderful and exciting project coming up very soon for me, will be working with LorAnn Oils in producing some of their creations for their website and recipe development, among other things. And those are just a couple of the very exciting projects I am currently involved in, along with many others to be revealed soon. So stay tuned for these fun offers and creations! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thank you Julie! It was a pleasure getting to know you better!